Qhubeka and the importance of bicycle safety

Qhubeka believes in the power of bicycles to change people’s lives, which is why our goal is to mobilise people with bicycles. We also believe in doing this safely to ensure that people know how to use their bicycles wisely.

Bicycle safety is a critical aspect of our work, from the design and manufacture of our Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles, to how recipients are selected and the information we provide to people along with their bicycles.

Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles

Our bicycles are designed by World Bicycle Relief specifically to withstand harsh African terrain and to last well if maintained properly. They are built to carry up to 250kg in total (with the carrier rack able to carry 100kg) and are made from heavy gauge steel tubing because of its durability. The bright yellow bicycle frame is also easy to see on the roads, even at night. Find out more about our bicycles here.

Ensuring the safety of Qhubeka bicycle recipients

With each bicycle that we hand over, we include a helmet. Wearing a proper bicycle helmet while cycling drastically reduces the chances of head or brain injuries in the event of an accident. We also supply recipients with a lock, pump and bicycle tool, which helps them to keep their bicycles safe and well-maintained, as well as a basic bicycle safety guide and basic bicycle maintenance guide.

Every handover event also includes a presentation to recipients on bicycle safety and maintenance. Our facilitators explain and demonstrate things like how to wear the helmet properly, how to check that all the parts of the bicycle are functioning properly, and how to use common hand signals while cycling. They also explain important road safety principles, like why it’s important to ride in single file, what not to do while cycling and how to ensure one is visible to other road users. They also spend time talking through maintenance tips, like how to wash the bicycle and clean the chain correctly, how to fix a tyre puncture and how to know when the bicycle needs servicing.

Qhubeka bicycle mechanics from the local community are present at every bicycle handover. They adjust the seat-posts and stems on each recipient’s bicycle to ensure that it is comfortable to ride and easy to control. Because recipients are introduced to the local mechanics, they know where to go should they have a problem with their bicycles or require a bike service.

When we host Qhubeka street races in the communities in which we work, we also give a basic race safety presentation to all participants to ensure that the events are managed as safely as possible, as well as taking pains to make the race environment safe by putting up temporary barrier fencing, marking the track clearly and ensuring that spectators stay outside of the race area.

In our Qhubeka Education programmes, learners who receive bicycles are selected by a Bicycle Supervisory Committee comprising community leaders, parents, teachers and local representatives from our implementation partner, World Vision. This ensures that the process of selecting recipients is not only fair and transparent, but safe too, because the people supervising the process know each recipient and his or her capabilities and circumstances. Bicycles are provided to learners who are able to use them safely.

Qhubeka aims to mobilise as many people as possible with bicycles, and we believe that as we do so, we have a responsibility to make sure that we put safety first. If you have any questions about our bicycles, bicycle safety or bicycle maintenance, please email info@qhubeka.org.

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